How to Safely use Lithium with Breastfeeding?

Welcoming a new life into the world is a joyous occasion, but for mothers grappling with bipolar disorder, the decision to breastfeed becomes a nuanced consideration when lithium is part of their treatment plan.

Balancing the benefits of breastfeeding with the potential risks associated with lithium use requires careful evaluation and open communication with healthcare professionals. This collaborative approach empowers both parties to make informed decisions that align with the best interests of both mother and child.

Let’s begin by answering this question first:

Q: Which of the following is the correct recommendation for a mother (treated with lithium during pregnancy) giving birth to a full term infant?

Answer: Reduce the mother’s lithium dose to preconception amount immediately after delivery.

Here is one slide from our academy’s new chapter answering this question:

NEW LECTURE ADDED FOR ACADEMY MEMBERS:

This will be our new chapter addition to the academy’s Maternal Mental Health lecture series, where Dr. Harvinder Singh has summarized this clinically relevant topic.

This chapter will be summarized in the following sections:

  1. Is Lithium Excreted into Breastmilk?
  2. When is an Infant at Risk?
  3. When is Breastfeeding appropriate with Lithium
  4. Recommendations for Lithium-treatment mother breastfeeding her full-term infant.

LITHIUM USE DURING LACTATION

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